Fort McCoy projects reflect Energy Action Month ideals
The installation of a paint-curing booth at the Installation Material Maintenance Activity in building 200 was one of several energy-saving projects on Fort McCoy, Wis., in 2015. When fully operational, the booth reduces the paint-curing process from... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT McCOY, Wis. (Oct. 27, 2015) -- October is National Energy Action Month.

President Barack Obama's 2015 proclamation for the month states, "During National Energy Action Month, we rededicate ourselves to bolstering energy efficiency, investing in innovative clean power, and working together to preserve our planet for generations to come."

At Fort McCoy, several initiatives and projects reflect efforts at the national, Army, and Department of Defense levels.

Fort McCoy Energy Manager Michael Kelley, with the Directorate of Public Works, or DPW, said one of the biggest projects, which is nearly complete, involves renovations of the paint booth at the Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity in building 200.

"The new paint booth will contribute to energy savings during the painting process because it will greatly increase the throughput rate of equipment they'll be able to accommodate, and we'll be able to shut down the paint booth at building 204 completely," Kelley said.

Contractors also recently completed running a natural-gas line from Fort McCoy's cantonment area to Family housing, the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport, Ammunition Storage Point, and the Rail House, Kelley said. The contractor, Johnson Controls, now is in the process of changing heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning, or HVAC, equipment over from propane to natural gas, which will save energy.

"Because of the age of some of the equipment in several of the buildings, conversion kits weren't available and new energy-efficient equipment is being installed," Kelley said.

Kelley said energy-saving improvements consistently have been applied to dozens of buildings on the installation.

"Johnson Controls also has installed more energy-efficient lighting in 91 buildings and upgraded HVAC controls in 67 others," Kelley said. "Throughout the post, we are always seeking ways to improve our energy conservation."

As a result of ongoing projects, Fort McCoy recently received an incentive check for $7,390 from the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program. According to the Focus on Energy website, the program helps Wisconsin businesses and residences lower operational costs through energy efficiency and renewable-energy projects.

"We also recently received some year-end data that shows Fort McCoy beat its energy-reduction goal for fiscal year 2015 by 4.9 percent," Kelley said. "The goal, as mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, was to average 76.5 million British thermal units [BTUs] per thousand square feet of building space over the year, and our actual number was 72.7 million BTU per thousand square feet."

Ongoing construction of 56 new units of military Family housing units on South Post is energy efficient, too. Master Planner Brian Harrie, of DPW's Master Planning Division, said the new housing is being constructed with energy-efficient technology to provide heating, cooling, and hot water.

The new homes will be equipped with geothermal heat sources that will provide all heat and air conditioning to units. Additionally, domestic hot water will be provided through high-efficiency, instantaneous tankless natural-gas water heaters.

"The new geothermal units should greatly reduce seasonal heating and cooling costs while providing increased comfort to the Soldier and his or her Family," Harrie said.

In his proclamation, Obama said, "During National Energy Action Month, let us recommit to forging the future that is within our capacity to reach by supporting clean, renewable, and independent means of energy production and by taking control of our own energy consumption."

Kelley said he encourages Fort McCoy personnel to look continuously for ways to bolster energy savings.

"Doing simple, common-sense things you would normally do around the house [which help you save money on your bills] would go a long way toward helping us meet our goals," Kelley said. "Turn off the lights in your office or other areas when you're not going to be around for a while."

Turning off lights when not needed is one example "of what we can do, but the bottom line is we all can continue to do more to save energy," Kelley said. "Take action to conserve energy at Fort McCoy."

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